Hot Glass Bits #28

Contact Mike Firth

October 10 - December 4, 1995

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This issue contains the following deadlines.

THE RANDY BROADNAX SHOW - Dallas art show, Dec. 8-10

WARM GLASS WINTER - High school students, Jan.15, 1996

HOT GLASS SUMMER - Grad level, ASAP or about Feb.15, 1996

[capitalized KEYWORD starts a paragraph below]

ZIPs of known hot glass class sites: 01002, 04627, 14830, 11217, 43216, 70130, 75253, 76028, 98144, 98292 Contact MF for more details. Would like to know of others

Hot Glass Bits is a personal chronological record of my wanderings through glassblowing and the bits and pieces of knowledge I gather along the way. It includes things I try, thoughts I have, information I receive, and reports on things I do. In many ways it is an edited diary and events calendar about glassblowing. If it is useful to others, it is worth the effort. It is normally closed near the end of the odd numbered months and mailed soon after.

WHOAMI? - Mike Firth is a 52 year old, low experience glassblower who signed up for his first class in '91 without having seen anyone blow, although he had seen TV shows, and had done stained glass and worked clear tubing in the past. He has built cheap equipment in his back yard to learn and practice. When not blowing, he is a married self-employed computer programmer and teacher about computers.

Vision Thing: Everyone makes mistakes and has successes. Professionals learn from their mistakes, amateurs often have to live with them. By discussing my explorations and observations, I can reduce the number of mistakes and increase the number of successes.

The legal stuff: Working glass is inherently dangerous, involving heavy materials that can be razor sharp, so hot that damage can be done before feeling occurs, with chemicals immediately poisonous, dusts that can damage the lungs, and heat sources that can wreck the eyes. Understand the safe practices required and use them to blow beautiful glass. -------------------

------------------------ Hot Glass Magazines and Newsletters ------------------- ------ Antique Notes [Blenko Glass, P.O. Box 67, Milton, WV, 25541] Small newsletter on Blenko glass. Glass Art Magazine [P.O.Box 260377, Highlands Ranch, CO, 80126-0377] "The Magazine for Stained and Decorative Glass" Stained, lampworking, kiln worked, Glass Artist magazine [28 South State Street, Newtown, PA, 18940, (215) 860 9947]    Hot Bits #28 Page 2

Glass Focus, the Contemporary Art Glass Periodical, [9323 Olcott, Morton Grove, IL, 60053, 708-967-8433, $5/$24] arr.12/4/95 The usual extensive list of galleries, with columns of Classes, Books and Focus on Artists. Glass Line [120 S. Kroger St., Anaheim CA 92805 714-520-0121 FAX: 714-520-4370, $7/$25 6/yr] Lampworking Newsletter; 10/21/95 Vol.9, #3 Long article on Loren Stump with several photos; Long The Bead Column on making Cheron Beads; Mickelsen's At The Lamp on the GAS Conference, Pilchuck, The Boathouse, Chemolene; and a lot of ads. Good issue. GLASS Magazine [UrbanGlass, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY, 11217-1112, 1-718-625- 3685] High quality Art glass; Hot Glass Bits Newsletter [1019 Martinique, Dallas TX 75223 2 , $11, 6/yr] Newsletter for molten glassblowers. Independent Glass Blower [% Gruenig Glass Works, Main St.,W.Barnet VT 05821,1- 802-633-4022, $25/yr, qrtly] arr 12/4/95 #39 Sep/Oct/Nov 95 Excellent discussion of batch and the problems of mixing it. A page of letters with queries and answers. NEUES GLAS/NEW GLASS [GLP International, P.O.Box 9868, Englewood NJ 07631-6888 for American subscriptions (only) $48/yr, or MasterCard or Visa to 1-800-457- 4443] International glass, not stained. Not seen. -------------------Hot Glass Web Pages & Internet Addresses ------------------ Southern Illinois Univ.Glass Gallery is very good presentation example is a newsgroup for all kinds of glass. is archive Josh Simpson MegaWorld making, detailed White House Crafts Collection, much glass

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GLORY HOLE I - As part of a rather productive day, I cut the hole for the burner port in the barrel glory hole. To form the outline and the port, I copied a pattern on heavy sheet metal. To make the pattern, I used a CADD program, but it could have been done just on paper: I drew an 18" circle for the barrel and a 6" circle for the port, placing it so the center of the small circle was 3" above the diameter of the large. I divided the 6" circle into 16 radial parts (8 on each side.) I drew lines from the intersection of the radials and the small circle horizontally to the large circle. Drawing a vertical line for reference, I could scribe off the distances. Laying out a line about the length of the circumference (18.8 inches) and dividing it into 16 parts, I stood each distance in the right place. The ends gave me the curve that matched the intersection of a 6" tube and an 18" tube. Cutting out the pattern, I traced it on the sheet metal and cut out the sheet metal. Bending the sheet metal to form a smooth 6" tube, I found it fitted nicely. I marked the outline and torch cut it, more roughly than I hoped. I fit the tube so 1" of metal projected inside the barrel and welded it. (I learned a lot about welding thin sheet metal, including repairing burn holes.) I plan to fit insulation board an inch thick around the inside, using water glass as glue, then carve a cone and tube to be the core of the burner port, and make a cover for the port. I will have to cover the board with plastic before pouring the insulating castable for the inner lining and front face. 10/10/95

INTERNET - Access to the Internet newsgroup,, has been frustrating. CompuServe has been overwhelmed while they scramble to untangle their access software. Messages come through in duplicate several days in a row, yet there are missing messages. The number of messages received by CIS is about 3/4 that in the archive for the group. 10/10/95

ART ALLISON is back from his month long trip to the upper midwest to see brother and do a couple of official demos/classes. He reports that frax furnace/gloryhole went very well and the slapped clay pots survived well. He prefired the pots to cone 6 and took the pots up and down to cold seven times in as many days. The pot showed cracks after the fourth day, but the cracks did not break through. 10/11/95

GLORY HOLE II - In a change of heart, I decided to use two inches of insulation board and about 1.5 of castable instead of only one inch of board. The board is very stiff, so I cut grooves with a razor knife so it would crack into 1.5 inch panels and used water glass to glue them in place.

GREAT BOOK - In the last issue I mentioned Contemporary Lampworking by Bandu Scott Dunham [Salusa Glassworks, P.O.Box 2354, Prescott AZ 86302 $35.95 (add $2 only if want Priority Mail shipping). 272 pages, ISBN 0-934252-56-4] as being recommended on CompuServe. As a result I have received a review copy and a great deal of pleasure. This book is first of all a great pleasure just to handle and look at. It is in landscape (horizontal) format with a glossy hard cover and soft sheathed wire bound binding with several color pictures. Virtually every page has pictures and drawings. Photos include work by a wide variety of artists. The instructional drawings are precise and contain only enough lines to give detailed information. I am unqualified as a lampworker to make detailed judgments about the instructional information, but it certainly seems far better than the other books I own. Step by step instructions are given in which the kind of flame to be used and the changing nature of the glass are mentioned. Problems are provided with solutions and the dynamics of working the glass are continuously mentioned. There are four major sections to the book: Introduction (including setting up), Technique (half the book), Advanced Techniques, and Appendices. In the last section are a long list of videos, books and classes for Further Study, Sources, Technical Information, Photographing Your Own Work, Glossary and Index, plus a very detailed 11 pages on health hazards including specific problems with various chemicals. I would have to recommend this book to anyone interested in Lampworking. 10/21/95

GLASS LINE arrives. (See also above) The cover story on Loren Stump shows itty- bitty automobiles (3/4") with drivers visible inside. The inside of the cars is actually solid glass and the drivers are encased murrini. 10/21/95

WORLD WIDE WEB - If you have never looked at the Web on the Internet and want to see what a good site can do for artists, hang on down to the local college and ask around about sampling student access to the Internet and Web, or chat up a friend who has access. Take a look at Southern Illinois University's Southern Glassworks home page which starts at The Gallery section presents a good sampling of the work of current and former students along with comments that are interesting. 10/21/95

CRAFT BOOKS is the title of a catalog from Chester Book Co. [4 Maple St., Chester CT 06417, 203-526-9887] that arrived in the mail. Small section on glass includes Chihuly-Form From Fire, the three Lundstrom books on fusing glass (one with his name misspelled), the exhibition catalog of Contemporary Kilnformed Glass, Frank Lloyd Wright Glass Art on his windows and two books called Glass Etching I & II on sandblast etching. Other topics in the catalog range from basketry to clocks. The first book listed is The White House Collection of American Crafts which the WWW page [] shows to include a lot of glass and other books of possible interest include several on marketing arts & crafts as well as law and photographing art work. 11/1/95

KITTRELL-RIFFKIND Art Glass is the only all glass gallery in Dallas (and perhaps in Texas, although European Influence in Austin is virtually all glass on the few times I visit.) They have opened a site in Sakowitz Village, on the SE corner of the Dallas Tollway and Beltline, while still keeping open, for the time being, their long time site at Olla Podrita (whose owners are closing it at some point that has shifted a couple of times so far.) The new corner site is large and modern with a ramp running around two sides leading to the side door and the workshop/classroom area. Beside the open display area, there is a more normal shelved area and a smaller darkened room for showing pieces best displayed that way.

VON KOFFLER/MEDORE -<> Our web page is After we shut down for winter, I am revamping it into a magazine format with a different cover story each month. It will be slick, funny. jazzy, thought provoking, with Kitaro playing in the background. Pix of the new studio as it evolves, etc... Tonight is the last night for blowing for a few months. We have decided to stay in Wimberley but move to a more active site (in netspeak). This week we close on our new property: 8.42 acres on 3237 (the main road to Austin via Kyle). We are building an adobe style (stucco, really) gallery, hot shop, and cold shop. Also a U shaped adobe home (away from the road). We have 900' of road frontage and it is a high traffic area - on a PAVED road!!! What will they think of next? Should be hot by late spring. Loved the SUI site. Great contacts. Many of our galleries were listed and now we can establish links. Thanks. [Received 11/2/95]

JOSH SIMPSON MEGAWORLD construction is detailed in a series of pages that can be reached by starting at the White House crafts glass page or by starting directly with Simpson's Megaworld page There are 35 steps given in the process, starting with making cane, 2 or 3 steps per web page. 11/2/95

NEW RATES - Starting with the first of the year, and issue #29, I am planning on increasing rates for Hot Glass Bits. I am also arranging for advertising. The new rates will be $3 for a single issue, $15 for an annual subscription. People currently receiving the issues can subscribe/extend for up to two years at $11 per year before the first of the year. The rate for all back issues will increase to $20. 11/4/95

CERF - The Craft Emergency Relief Fund [CERF, 245 Main Street #203, Northampton MA 01060 1-413-586-5898 FAX: 1-413-586-0688] provides funds and other assistance to craft workers who have been wiped out in some way or another. Besides providing cash, CERF has maintains a list or more than 60 suppliers who will provide discounts or donations to those who in need. As one example of how this can work, the Laguna Clay Company included a donated slab roller in its freight car sized regular shipping to get it to a fire damaged studio on the other side of the country. Fifteen glass related suppliers are included in the list.
CERF always welcomes donations. Remember it exists if you or a fellow artist is wiped out by disaster and need help. 11/5/95

GLORY HOLE - Well, I cast my glory hole liner and door today. It is sitting outside still wet as I write this. I used the National RFC 25. Considering the narrow clearances in some places, I should have been more willing to be sloppy when first mixing. I also fear that the burner port did not get enough goop in the right places. I used Formica cut an inch wide to provide a lip around the barrel, so the castable protects the steel from direct flame, and cut 2" wide to provide the mold for the door, which I backed up with 2x wood held together with clamps. I curved a piece of Formica and fasted the ends to give me the curved opening I want to use on the side of my sliding door. I'll keep the whole mess moist for 24 hours and then start digging out the foam core and see what I have to do in the way of repairs. 11/9/95 10:27 AM

TWO MORE changes of direction. I interviewed for a (more than) full time job with the best local hardware store (Elliott's) and got it, pending passing the drug test, which I darn well better, considering how square I am. It will start next week and take a lot of time, but the credit card balances may start falling. [After my second day, I am delighted with the new stuff I have learned about the operation that I already knew fairly well; the public experience has been interesting and generally fun. I have energy left at the end of the day. 11/15/95] While walking home from the grocery store tonight, I spotted a modest refrigerator at the curb. Although bigger than my planned annealer (and a different shape) it will provide a quick solution to what has dragged on too long in making the shell. If it proves unsuitable in any way, at least I will have had the experience of stripping one. I have had the insulboard for it some time and am reaching the point of needing to use it to avoid storage/weather damage. I want to try some experiments with other insulation between the board and the shell and measure the temps to see what happens with vermiculite and fiber glass filler. More later. 11/10/95

ANNIVERSARY GLASS - My wife and I celebrated our 11th anniversary and my 53rd birthday with a nice dinner in a quality restaurant, Antares, rotating at the top blown at top of Reunion Tower downtown. The table glasses were clearly hand blown, down to the remains (almost untouched in the indented bottom) of the punty marks. Each glass had a line of dark transparent color that spiraled up the glass to near the rim, providing a tactile and visual experience.

DIVAS GLASS DOWNTOWN - As part of a long conversation covering several topics, Terry Maxwell from Divas Art Glass, just south of Ft.Worth, told me that they have placed their ornaments in the gift shop at the new branch of the Ft.Worth Museum of Modern Art in Sundance Square which is a major part of the rejuvenation of downtown Ft.Worth. This is going to be an upscale recreation area also including a symphony hall, movie complex, open space and buildings immediately next to the core of downtown Ft.Worth. Terry reports that the ornaments using the quantity of frit they bought during the GAS Conference, directly at Spruce Pine Batch, produced spectacular results; they are delightful. 11/15/95 Terry called later and during the conversation told me that the Museum has had good sales and wanted to put identification on each piece, which was not done before, so she cut down some business cards and delivered them. 12/1/95

NIGHT LIGHT EXERCISE - In glancing at the Delphi Stained Glass [1-800-248-2048] catalog, I noticed their night light listings (p.9) which include the electric bulb base ($1.95, 6 or more @ 1.66) and a clip that bolts around the base and solders to the upper part. Starting with a flattened blown ornament bulb either with a large enough opening worked hot or ground, a foil edge could be added, the clip soldered on and a neat little light made. Would the fully enclosed bulb create too much heat? Would soldering the clip to some other mount (hair pin shaped clips to hold the bottom) be better? Which would work best for opening the neck to the proper size while not damaging the visible glass top: delicate punty work, an ornament gripper punty, putting the ornament in a frax bowl and torch working the opening, or grinding? 11/18/95

PROGRESS - Finished stripping the refrigerator shell and started cutting the core out of the glory hole. A sharp scraper (like a hoe straightened out) really helps get the refrig foam off the walls. Digging the foam out of the hole is tough as I don't want to damage the castable. Found one void so far, just below burner port. Upper half looks very good so far, especially the cast in lip. On Friday I was walking across Elliott's Hardware and another employee was carrying a short length of Sonotube, the cardboard tubing used for molding concrete, that I commented costs so much in long lengths. Elliott's sells 40" lengths in 8, 10, and 12" diameters; mostly used for pier and beam foundation posts. So try a good hardware store or lumber yard if you think you need some. 11/19/95

IDEAS - The European Influence [10000 Research Blvd, Suite 143, Austin TX 78759 512-345-6688] has sent out their newsletter. One mention is of Coasterstones, made of sandstone with cork backing to protect furniture, featuring the idea that they don't lift up under the glass. These could be made of glass. A picture of the new Kosta Boda artglass shows vases with faces cast in the body, a different colored long tapering neck which ends in a flat disk top. Body/neck colors are dark green/orange, dark green/yellow, dark red/blue and yellow/orange. EI now caries Borowski artglass with engraved multi-layer pieces. Picture shows what appears to be a blue body cased in white cased in dark with pickup of other colors. Dark casing becomes branches, other colors become leaves/flowers, white becomes snow and wings of butterflies, blue becomes sky. 11/26/95

LYONS GALLERY [Lyons Matrix Gallery, 1712 Lavaca St., Austin TX 78701] announces a showing Nov.18 to Jan.6, of new glass sculpture by Danny Perkins under the title Broken Vases. The picture shows what I would call a handkerchief vase (like fabric dropped from a point) with a textured surface in yellow orange and dark red, described as blown glass with oil paint. The picture doesn't give a clue to the scale given by the dimensions: 45" x 18" x 18" which means at some point this glass was probably a disk over seven feet in diameter if made by the handkerchief method. Even if pulled from a blown shape, 45" is impressive. The base appears to be glued on. 11/26/95

GLORY HOLE CASTING - I finished cleaning the foam out of the glory hole today and found two voids, one large. That one is below the fitting for the burner port, where I was worried anyway because of the thickness of the castable I put in there. It also appears that the core was not as well aligned as it might have been and the wall is thinner on that side. I have found the castable to work well as mortar and have just finished filling the smaller void. When it sets, I shall fill the larger, thickening the wall in the area. Of course, only when heat is applied will I know whether the patches have been successful. I used a spade bit to break up the foam although my reciprocating saw would probably have been better. I Don't see the castable being damaged by my various poundings. I wonder now whether I should have done the burner port after casting the interior, although I would still have had to work around the pattern for the void. 11/26/95

IMAGO GALLERIES [73-970 El Paseo, Palm Desert CA 92260, 619-776-9890 FAX:776- 9891] sends photo cards on showings for Linda MacNeil and Dan Dailey, opening Dec.9 with a reception 5-8 p.m. and running to Jan.3rd. The example of Linda's work is a green pate de verre necklace piece hung on a gold appearing rope with applied 24K gold-plated brass, glass and mirror. The pate de verre portion is a cylinder mounted above a disk. Dan's piece is a grinning lizard eyeing a water bug, the whole made of blue and black glass, aluminum, 24K gold-plated brass and patina. The glass apparently forms the stripes of the lizard and the land and water underneath. The whole is clearly assembled with adhesive and is 27" x 9" x 10". 11/27/95

WARM GLASS WINTER - Texas Tech University sends their material on the workshops for high school students in Fused Glass with Bill Bagley and Vickie Bunting at Junction TX, January 26-28, 1996. Cost is $55. Deadline is Jan.15. Betty Street, TTU Center at Junction, Dept.of Art Box 42081 Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock TX 79049-2081 806-742-3027 FAX: 806-742-3878

HOT GLASS SUMMER - Texas Tech University sends their material on the summer glass blowing classes at Junction (west of Austin on I-10.) Glassblowing at various levels will be offered from June 16 to July 26. Bill Bagley will offer Advanced Hot Glass June 16-28 and Experimental Hot Glass June 30-July 5. Bob Mosier will offer Beginning/Intermediate Hot Glass July 14-26. Advanced Hot Glass requires 4 hours in hot glass or equivalent. Experimental Hot Glass requires consent of instructor and will focus on team approach to use color and process produce "show quality" sculptural forms. (In other words, the focus will be on what Bill does well and prefers: lots of color in twisted and cut forms.) In Beg/Int, all techniques will be explored while focusing on functional forms. Cold Glass working making dimensional images with stone wheels will be offered for the week of July 14-19 by Paul Hanna. For Texans, these workshops are real bargains. The catch is that you have to be able to qualify as a graduate student since these are grad.continuing ed courses for high school art teachers. Many other topics are offered. The two week courses cost $200.70 tuition for Texas residents, $584.70 for non- residents. Glass courses typically have a $50 materials fee. On campus living quarters are small dorms, $88 per week in an open cabin (literally, it has screen walls) or 98.50 in air conditioned units; both prices include 15 meals a week (no food service Friday evening thru Sunday noon.) Junction is a pleasant small town on the west edge of the Texas Hill Country with several restaurants. It is located not far from several tourist areas including Fredricksberg and Kerrville. Deer are usually seen each morning and hummingbirds attracted to feeders fly all day. The weather is hot and very dry, usually, with occasional brief afternoon thunderstorms. I sweat heavily every place but here, bone dry (and drink gallons.) There is no real deadline, but a practical deadline is about Feb.15 or ASAP as the classes fill up. There is also a waiting list and I once got in class from it with a call on Thursday for a class starting Sunday. Write for detailed information and application to Betty Street, TTU Center at Junction, Dept.of Art Box 42081 Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock TX 79049-2081 806-742-3027 FAX: 806-742- 3878 11/27/95

LAST THOUGHTS - As I close down this issue, I am cooking out the gloryhole which is going even slower than the announced schedule which I programmed in. National wants a 50. per hour rise to 300F and hold for 6 hours, then to 600F with another hold. My 500 watt element had trouble getting past 212.F, the    Hot Bits #28 Page 8

boiling point of the water being driven off. I also learned that my programmable controller, when it reaches the end of its time, holds at whatever temperature it happens to be at. As an experiment, I am using a charcoal starter as an $7 element in this situation where I don't need an element later. To punctuate closing, I decided to clean the last of the trash foam out of the refrigerator annealer. I see, in looking back at the issue that while I put a lot of notes into a Recipe on making the annealer, I didn't put much here. I found that if my frig had had freon in it and I wanted to be responsible, it would have cost $75-100 to get a service company out to drain the thing. The job is going very well. I like working at the place and with the public. Getting time to do glasswork is going to be tough. I have already improved the lighting in the backyard after my extension ladder disappeared and hope to make it workable to do enough evening work. Last minute arrivals of The Independent Glassblower and Glass Focus, see above. 12/4/95

North Texas Notes

WELDING CLASS - I am thinking of holding a class called "Welding for Glassblowers" which will be about 3 hours long and be held early next year at the only time I can: Sunday afternoon. If held in Dallas, it will be in my back yard east of downtown. If held in Ft.Worth, I suppose it will be held at Divas south of I-20 off I-35. The class would only cover simple welding of low carbon steel including gas handling and eye safety, and a quick look at torch cutting. Since I only have one torch rig the class would take the form of a demo and everybody closely watching everybody else make mistakes. Content adjusted to participants which will be limited to 5 or 6. $25 for the afternoon. Interested? Contact me.

UTA GLASS - Jim Bowman will be teaching two glassblowing courses at the University of Texas at Arlington. He reports that both are at capacity following pre-registration. Contact the UTA Art Department at metro 817-272- 2891. 11/19/95

THE RANDY BROADNAX SHOW - For 20 odd years, Randy Broadnax, now an instructor at Cedar Lake College in the Dallas junior college system has held a winter art show featuring 20 or so artists in a wide range of fields raku to glass to photography. This year it is being held at Sons of Herman Hall, 3414 Elm Street, Dallas, Fri-Sat-Sun, Dec 8-9-10, evening Friday 5-9, Sat. 10-7, Sun 12-6 12/3/95

DIVAS GLASS ART - Will have an open house on Saturday, December 9. See ad below. Divas is south of Ft.Worth just east of I-35W. 12/3/95

MORE DALLAS GLASS - The efforts of Hugh Erwin, Ron Marrs, Chris Mancil, and Jim Bowman, continue to be a work in progress as they now have to have new electrical service. Brad Abrams is probably offering classes but continues to not return my calls for information. 12/3/95

1 In this space is pasted an ad containing the 2 following text.. 3 Joppa Glassworks, Inc. 4 We make and sell annealling kiln elements and 5 Giberson Ceramic Burner Heads for your 6 gloryholes and furnaces. 7 For ideas on how to improve your studio 8 equipment call or write Dudley Giberson: 9 Warner NH 03278, 603-456-3569 fax:456-2138 10 |

1 | In this space is pasted an ad 2 | containing the following text. 3 | Divas Glass Art, 4 | Terry Maxwell, Shirley Daniel 5 | Classes, Pipes, and Blocks 6 | 1100 East Rendon-Crowley Road 7 | Building #7, Burleson TX 76028 8 | (817) 293-0190 9 | Fax:(817) 293-9565 10 |

RECIPES - I have been asked whether I will write a book. I almost have, in the form of Recipes giving the procedures I have followed in various activities. A partial list of Recipes has been included in past issues. A complete index is available for $1 or for an Self Addressed Stamped #10 envelope.

NEW RATES - Another reminder that rates will go up January 1. New rates will be $15 per year, $20 for all back issues, and $3 per single recent issue. People getting this issue can pay in advance for up to two years at the old rate.

Blow good Glass

I send Hot Glass Bits to: Those who are mentioned in an issue, Hot Glass Texans, others I feel like sending a copy to, and those who have paid for it. The only ones guaranteed to get the next issue are the last group.

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